Date of Award

Winter 12-2015

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MIDS)


Interdisciplinary Program


Carol Toner

Second Committee Member

Betsy Beattie

Third Committee Member

Jennifer Pickard


This project/thesis is a combination of personal reflection on my family's work towards building a homestead and the research that has driven, and been driven by, our homesteading goals and desires. The history of homesteading is included to situate our homestead into the larger homesteading history in Maine and in the country. Recalling our own motivations to control our food security and food sovereignty that is traditionally tied to commercial agriculture, I integrate the topics of genetically modified organisms and concentrated animal feeding operations and the reasons we chose to avoid both. Our concern for the environment, distrust in food that has been genetically altered, and concern over the lack of transparency from food corporations have led us to avoid consuming genetically modified organisms. Similarly, our concern about damage to the environment, consumer health, and animal welfare provided motivation to begin practicing small scale animal husbandry in an attempt to provide our homestead with meat and meat products not raised in a concentrated animal feeding operation setting. What we cannot produce on our own homestead we purchase locally, taking part in the efforts to create a self-sufficient community. Unfortunately, our ability to provide nonGMO produce and non-CAFO meat and meat products for our family hinges on the laws and regulations of our town and state. Fortunately, many towns in Maine are attempting to protect the food sovereignty and security of their communities by creating ordinances that protect the rights of both consumer and producer in the name of self-sufficiency, a state-wide response to industrial agriculture. This study examines our decision to homestead as a personal and sustainable response to the dangers inherent in industrial agriculture.